Sunday 29 July 2012

BIN12: Day Thirty-Four

At last I've had a chance to sit down and pull together the results from the last day on site. Even though it was our last day, we continued to make great progress. There was inevitably some housekeeping to do (particularly a bid of weeding in advance of our Aerial Cam shots on Monday). In Trench 1, we continued to move a lot of the upper, late walling in the southern end of the barrack (green glazed pottery in the wall make-up confirming its late date). We also found what appears to be a nice copper alloy knife chape of medieval? date. At the north end, we carried on exposing the gable end and the other wall immediately to its north; suprisingly this gable wall also appears now to be extending eastwards as well. It is not clear how far, and we remain uncertain at this time whether it was cut by the large pit. This large pit continued to expand, with some possible traces of a wood lining. In Trench 2, the most exciting progress was made in the eastern room of the bath building. Here having removed all the slabs, we were able to crack on reach on down to some kind of floor surface. Most excitingly, we confirmed that there was a cross-wall in this corridor like space. As it is not bonded in to the side walls and cuts across the existing wall plaster it is clearly not part of the original plan. There is a doorway in the western side and in the base of the excavated area we found a large worked stone that was almost certainly the upper lintel of this doorway (see images. In the adjacent space we continued moving flagstones including finally shifting the small portable altar that had been used as flooring. In the next few days I'll provide a full overview of this season's work at the site, highlighting areas where we've really made some progress. I'm having a few days break, but in the near future, we'll be carrying out two small additional evaluation trenches to the north of our current area in the north vicus. I'll post about them more shortly too. Finally, I want to to thank all those who have helped us make this year's season such a success: from Archaeological Services, Durham University, Peter Cairn, Matt Claydon, Jamie Armstrong, Janet Beveridge, Becca, Carrie Drew, Linda Bosveld and Jenny Jones, from Vinovia, Melissa Chatfield and Gary Devore, as well as Chris Whitmore (Texas Tech) and Michael Shanks (Stanford University), David Mason from Durham County Council, Chris and Alan the Binchester custodians, and the staff of St John's College, Durham- finally, it would of course not have been possible without our diggers- the first year Durham archaeology students, our US contingent and all those from the local community who worked long and hard with us on site.

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